Emotion in Motion—Chapter 5
Rated PG-13 for yaoi
Disclaimer: If I owned Harvest Moon, the next game would be titled, "Harvest Moon: For Gay." But since that's very unlikely, it's safe to say that I don't own the games or characters.
Author's Note: Ah, I'm terrible for leaving you all like that for so long! I'm in my last semester of college though, so I haven't had a ton of time for writing. Hope I can make up for that! Anyway, with Skye's yellow heart event here, we're finished with these things. Now we can really move into the real plot. This kind of ends an arc. The next chapter will introduce a new little arc for a few chapters, so don't think I'm out of ideas yet! I won't give away a lot, but let's just say Skye's past actions will come back to haunt him. And I promise that any future angst will be less painful to read through. Aka, I know my angst is pitiful, so please bear with me.
Flames do nothing but make me laugh, although I'll listen to any CC you have. Please read, review, and enjoy! Finished 01-26-10
Cliff had almost taken the next day off and run through the woods to find Skye, but he'd restrained himself. He had to apologize. He'd ruined Skye's birthday over a silly argument, and he felt horrible about it. The older man had spent the entire afternoon with him, and Cliff had barely stayed half-an-hour because he let his anger get the best of him. Maybe Skye's past wasn't bad in comparison to his, but he didn't wish his past on anyone. Skye's pain was his own, and Cliff knew that if he'd been in his position, he would have run off too. Maybe he wouldn't have resorted to thievery, but that was Skye's decision, not his.
He didn't care if they'd only know each other for six weeks. They could have met six days ago and he still would have known Skye wasn't someone he was about to let go so easily. So he took the two hour walk on his day off, hoping Skye wasn't mad enough just to stay home that night.
"Hello Cliff, you came at a good time!" The greeting Ruby gave him would have been strange, if it weren't the same one he seemed to get whenever Skye was involved. This was definitely a good sign. "We just got a note from that thief." Oh yes, very good indeed.
"A note from the thief?!" A new voice made Cliff want to groan. He did not want Rock involved in this… He didn't necessarily dislike the young man, he was just such a handful. He wasn't the only one who rushed in though. A redheaded women he'd met once named Nami, who lived fulltime at the inn as he did in Mineral Town, followed behind the blond.
"Ruby, I heard you got a note from the thief!" The older woman chuckled a bit at their enthusiasm.
"Calm down you two. I was about to read the note to Cliff. He's dealt with that thief many times." Nami glanced at him, her eyes narrowing a bit.
"So we've heard. And somehow he manages to be the only guy to get caught by that beam…" Rock had no idea what she meant, thank the Goddess, but Ruby just tutted at the accusation.
"Now now, that isn't anyone's business but his own." She shot Cliff a warm smile, which he weakly returned. He wondered how many people in the valley had figured out he was gay just by what happened when Skye came around… "And didn't the thief freeze you once Nami…?" The girl frowned, but didn't say anything. "Now then, let me read what the note says… 'I'm to waltz into the Inner Inn at midnight. With love, Phantom Skye.' Waltz, huh? He sounds like a mighty bold thief."
"You're being way too casual about this," Nami muttered at the older woman's amusement. Rock nodded in agreement.
"Yeah mom, this is a thief we're dealing with after all! This is the perfect chance to catch him and get famous!" Nami rolled her eyes, muttering what sounded suspiciously like 'idiot' under her breath.
"That's not what I meant!"
"Maybe you're right," Ruby spoke up before a fight could break out. "But how are we supposed to catch him?" Cliff didn't think Rock could come up with a successful plan, but Nami… He didn't want to think about it. They just couldn't catch Skye…
"We'll need a plan."
"And Cliff will help us, right?"
He looked between them, wishing they wouldn't look so hopeful…
"I suppose so..."
"Well, thank you sweetie," Ruby said gently as the others left the inn, talking about finding others to help them. "It means a lot… Especially since I know you don't want us to catch him."
"W-what?" He was doing an excellent impression of a fish. "I don't, I mean, why would you think—"
"You don't have to say anything. I could hear two voices in your room last week when I marched Rock up to his room, and in the morning I found silver hairs on your pillow. And I know they aren't yours. So unless you had Nina spending the night…" She just had to laugh at the horrified look on his face. The poor dear was so easy to tease. "Don't worry dear, your secret is safe with me. Can't say I like the fact that he's a thief, but if anyone can reform the man, I'm sure it's you."
It wasn't the first time Cliff had heard that, but it was the first time a valley resident had said it. Considering these were the people Skye stole from, it meant a little more.
"Ruby… Thank you. I'm trying my best." She nodded, chuckling pleasantly.
"I'm sure you are. Well, I'll see you later tonight!" He agreed that he would, then left the inn. Another trap… He was worried about Nami, but surely with Rock helping out, it wouldn't be anything Skye couldn't easily get out of, right?
He headed for the waterfall to bide his time. He knew he had to make everything up to his boyfriend, and he was going to find the perfect way to do it if it took all day.
It ended up taking all day. Nothing seemed good enough. Saying sorry wasn't enough—no words seemed to be. But it came to him eventually. He knew the perfect thing to give Skye…as long as Skye still wanted it. He supposed he'd find out after whatever happened with Nami and Rock's plan.
As he walked back to the inn, he glanced towards the farm he had been at two weeks ago, the last time he had witnessed one of Skye's thefts. The sight he saw caused him to stumble though, his eyes widening. There was Nami , Rock, and Ruby along with Marlin, Celia…and Vesta, honest to the Goddess holding a pitchfork. Wasting no time, he sprinted to the inn. Maybe Skye would be there early and he could warn him…
He practically tore the door off the hinges to get in, looking around frantically. He called the thief's name, hoping he might be upstairs or in a side room, but there was no answer. He ran over to the kitchen—if he was going to steal something, it would definitely be from the kitchen—and looked inside, but it was empty.
"Oh Goddess," he prayed, not knowing if even Skye could get away from that many people, "please don't let them catch him…"
"There's the thief!"
"It's Phantom Skye!"
The yelling that met his ears came from the direction of Vesta's farm. Had they spotted him before he could even begin his heist? It didn't matter; he ran as fast as he could back out the door. He had to get there before…
He was stopped as a small body bumped into his. An incredibly familiar body…
"Skye! You're alright!" The thief stared up at his boyfriend, clear shock in his wide green eyes. He looked like he had much to say—they both did—but they knew now wasn't the time nor the place.
"I'm afraid I don't have much time tonight…" He glanced over his shoulder, glad to see they hadn't caught up yet. "Could you sort of look the other way?" Cliff nodded, taking the chance and drawing him into a brief hug.
"I never saw you." Skye felt his heart race at the contact. He'd spent three days thinking Cliff wanted nothing to do with him, but he was overjoyed to see he'd been wrong.
"Really? You'll cover for me? A self-centered thief?" He pulled away a little, a dazzling smile on his face. "Thank you Cliff. You know, you're glowing with a vibrant beauty on this lovely night." It seemed not even guilt or the risk of being caught could stop Skye's flirting, and Cliff had to let out a comforted chuckle at that.
"We still need to talk..." Skye reluctantly pulled away completely, knowing their time was short. Sure enough, the voices were coming closer…
"I know. Meet me just outside the valley in an hour. I'll be waiting." With that, he turned and fled towards the direction of the turtle pond. From there Cliff knew he could make it to the forest where'd he'd be safe. He just needed to give Skye that chance.
"Cliff!" Ruby's voice filled the air as the group ran towards him. "We got help, but then—"
"Phantom Skye slipped right past us!" Rock butted in, looking excited at the thrill of the chase.
"We think he went this way," Nami continued, glancing around and frowning when she saw nothing. "Ah… Did he?" The brunet shook his head. He didn't like to lie, but sometimes it was necessary. This was definitely one of those times.
"No, I didn't see him. I did see someone running towards the mansion though. Maybe it was him?" Only two of the six looked like they didn't believe him. Nami's eyes narrowed ever so slightly, and Ruby wore an amused expression. Neither said anything.
"That sneaky bastard! Come on, after him!" Even with one member of the ambush group not positive Cliff was telling the truth and another completely sure he wasn't, they ran off towards Romana's mansion.
When he was alone, Cliff let out a relieved sigh. Skye was going to be safe, they were going to talk, and everything was going to be fine.
Skye was waiting on the path just past the entrance to the valley. The moonlight shone down upon him, and not for the first time when looking at him did Cliff lose his breath. Skye was a bit shorter than he was, pale, slim…physically they were nothing alike despite their many other similarities, except maybe for the fact they both kept their hair longer than most men did. Cliff had been told he was handsome before, but he didn't think he held a candle to the sight before him.
"I'm glad you came. I wasn't really sure if you would."
"Why wouldn't I? Everything that happened the other day was my fault. I just…don't react that well to my family sometimes. I'm so sorry I walked out on you. Especially on your birthday."
"It's just another day," Skye commented with a shrug. "It's not all your fault though. I wasn't thinking. If you don't want to tell anyone about me, that's fine. I'm just…very pleased you still want anything to do with a spoiled brat such as myself."
"I don't think we're going to agree on whose fault it was." He walked closer until he could take Skye in his arms, holding him close. "So let's just forgive each other, all right?" Skye didn't say anything, but Cliff could feel his nod. He took a deep breath, wanting to say what he'd decided at the waterfall before he became too embarrassed. "I've been thinking about how to make it up… And I'm going to give you another present. I don't know if you'll want it, but if you do… I want you to have me."
Skye looked up at him, his jaw agape at the insinuation. Did he really mean what he thought he meant?
"Cliff… I want to, but I think you're giving me too much credit my dear. I'm a virgin too." The brunet was shocked, to say the least. True, Skye was only a year older than him, but he was rich and gorgeous, so how had he never been with a woman? Sensing his boyfriend's questions, the thief continued. "I may be a flirt, but I have my standards. I decided a long time ago, when every girl I knew was trying to get into my pants, that I wasn't going to have sex until I was in love.
"And besides," he continued, squirming a little in Cliff's embrace, "you've been into guys a lot longer than I've been into you. Not that I haven't fantasized about it, but I think you'd know more about it than me, so…"
"You mean you want me to…to be on top?" Skye nodded silently again, and even in the dark Cliff could tell he was blushing. "If that's what you want. But you just said you wanted to wait until you're in love."
"I know," Skye breathed, wondering if his heart would ever stop racing. "I love you."
There. He said it. If Cliff didn't feel the same or thought it was too soon, fine. But Skye had gone his whole life surrounded by women who wanted him, and he'd never had anything more than a casual short-term fling. Then Cliff had suddenly appeared in his life and he hadn't been able to get him out of his head for even a moment. He even dreamed about the man. He was the only one Skye had ever loved, and he doubted there was anyone else who could make him feel that way. Cliff was special; Cliff was Cliff. And he loved him.
"I…" He screwed his eyes shut, waiting for rejection. "I love you too."
They looked at each other for a few moments before they began to laugh, melting all of the past tension away. They still had a lot to learn about each other and it wouldn't be easy, but they were both willing to do it together.
They walked back to the inn, knowing that it was long past when anyone would be out. Skye offered to climb in through his window, but Cliff told him he had an easier way. He peaked into the inn before signaling that it was safe. Skye followed him in, only to freeze at the sight of Ruby's smiling face.
"Oh, don't worry hun, I know all about you and Cliff. You didn't actually steal anything from me either, so I won't tell anyone about this little rendezvous." She winked at the couple, and Cliff led his stupefied boyfriend upstairs before Nami or Rock could come out and see them. Once safely in the room, he locked the door and clicked on the light.
"Ruby figured it out the last time you were here. She's the only one though." Skye made a noise than sounded like a cue to go on. "So, did you want to…you know…here?" Skye might have laughed at Cliff's inability to say sex aloud, if he weren't so nervous himself.
"You live at the inn in Mineral Town, right? Guess it depends on which place you think has thicker walls." Cliff wondered what he was talking about for a few moments before gasping.
"You mean you're going to…"
"Yeah, if the offer is still open. You said that girl can get me a job… I don't do mornings though. My low blood pressure you know." Cliff hadn't known—well, the low blood pressure part at least; he knew Skye was dead on his feet when he had to get up early—but he didn't dwell on it.
"This is great!" he cheered, wrapping his arms around Skye and kissing his lips briefly. "I share a room with another guy to split the bill, but if you're with me, we can get the empty room. And I'm sure Doug will hire you, oh, and you can really meet my friends…"
Skye figured they weren't going to make love that night as Cliff began telling him all about what they could do living together. It was all right though. Cliff was so happy, that it in turn made him happy. Fate had really come through for him, and he couldn't have been more grateful.
When Skye woke up, he immediately knew it was way too early to be getting up. Cliff urged him on though, saying that they needed to leave before the valley's residents woke up. Skye didn't complain, if only because he'd agreed to stay the night, wanting to know what it felt like to wake up next to someone you loved. He decided that he liked it very much, but that it would have been nicer if it weren't five-thirty in the morning.
They left the valley quickly, stopping just long enough for Cliff to leave Ruby a note thanking her for everything and explaining that he probably wouldn't be back anytime soon. He had a feeling she could guess why. They took a slight detour to the dilapidated cabin, allowing Skye to stuff his few belongings in the bag he'd originally brought them from the city in, not really having anything else. Most everything else had been in the abandoned cabin when he'd found it. Cliff noted with a tinge of pride that Skye was packing away the containers his birthday presents had been packaged in.
"The love made all the difference," Skye commented with a grin when he noticed his boyfriend's gaze. "I don't need the rest of this junk. Let's get going."
It was still early when they reached Mineral Town, and they'd chatted about this and that while they walked. They decided that if Skye was going to have a fresh start, he'd need to go by his real name. It was risky, but they knew they couldn't lie about it forever. If no one realized he was the infamous Phantom Skye, fine, but if they did…well, they'd deal with that when the time came.
He'd pointed out the inn when Skye had been there last, so the thief—ex-thief Cliff hoped—knew his new home when they reached it. Well, assuming he wouldn't get run out of town once everyone realized who he was.
"Ready to go in?" Skye blinked wearily up at the inn—seriously, what was he doing up at eight in the morning again?—and nodded. If he was to live there, there was no use in being intimidated.
"Yeah, let's go."
Cliff pushed open the doors and walked it, Skye close behind him. The bar was deserted except for one person…
"Cliff, you're back! And hey, it's your boyfriend! Hi there!" Skye smiled weakly and waved to the grinning redhead, figuring this must be the Ann girl whose father owned the place. He didn't know her, but he was grateful she was on their side. Had it been at least two hours later, he would have been far more gracious about it too.
"Not so loud…" Cliff muttered, his eyes flitting to the side to see his boyfriend's reaction. Skye looked ready to fall asleep standing right there, and he was rather relieved. It was obvious Skye didn't want to keep their relationship a secret, and Cliff wasn't going to upset him over it again if he could help it…but he didn't need all of Mineral Town knowing right away. Surely Skye wouldn't object to taking it slowly…
"Sorry," Ann said in a sing-song tone, not sounding in the least bit apologetic. "I'm glad I finally get to meet him though. Twice now he's been here and we haven't gotten to talk. I demand you let me get to know him a little before he leaves, got it Cliff?" She frowned at him, but her eyes were twinkling with clear enjoyment.
"Don't worry Ann, he's not going anywhere this time." The redhead gasped as she finally noticed the bag the older man was carrying. Her grin got even wider as she realized what was happening. "So, I guess dad can quit complaining about the empty room not being put to good use… I'll get you the key, okay? Then let him sleep for a few hours before he passes out, and I'll talk to dad about getting him a job here. Sound good?"
While the two went through some details and Ann got the key, Skye glanced around and tried to remain conscious. So this would be his home for a while… He looked at Cliff and smiled to himself. That was perfectly fine with him.
Cliff left Skye to sleep for a few hours while he took care of a few things. First on his list was to move his things from his old room to the new one. No matter what Doug said about Skye working there, he certainly wouldn't say no to the room switch. With the pay he made he could certainly cover the both of them staying there, though he wasn't going to tell his boyfriend that. He wanted Skye to move completely away from thievery, and that meant getting him a job. On the off chance Doug said no, he knew Duke or Carter could find something for him to do. Still, Skye wanted to cook, and this was his chance. He knew Doug well though, and he highly doubted he'd have to worry.
It was nearly nine, and that meant the room would be empty for a while. Gray was at work and Kai was no doubt out with Popuri, leaving him ample time to gather his belongings in peace. He knew he'd have to tell them, especially Gray, but he wasn't quite up to it yet.
He knew Gray would be one of the first people outside the three that already knew about his relationship with Skye. They were friends…surely he'd be okay with it, right? He was from the city and was dating a very open-minded woman after all. Plus, he never went to the valley. Hopefully he wouldn't know a thing about phantom thieves…
"Cliff, what are you doing?"
The brunet stiffened at the familiar voice. What was he doing back here…?
"Um…hello Gray. I thought you had work…"
"I do, but I forgot the brooch I'd been working on and had to come back for it. That doesn't answer why it looks like you're packing though…" Gray's tone was full of suspicion, and Cliff supposed he didn't blame the other man. He'd almost left for good once before after all.
"I'm not leaving really… I'm just moving into the empty room." Though he prayed to the Goddess Gray wouldn't question why—he wasn't ready for this!—he knew it was coming regardless…
"Why? What was wrong with staying with me?" Anger crept into Gray's voice, and no matter what he wanted or didn't want to say at the moment, it was clear what he needed to do. He just hoped he was right about Gray being tolerant.
"It has nothing to do with you, I swear. I just… Remember my friend that came to visit me on my birthday?" Gray nodded; he hadn't seen him, but he remembered how happy Cliff had been at his party as he showed him and Ann the pendent he'd gotten as a gift from the man. He'd thought it was odd for men to give other men jewelry, but then again… "Well… He's moved to Mineral Town, and we're sharing the other room."
"Why couldn't he just stay in here?" Cliff fought a groan. Gray certainly wasn't making this easy for him.
"…For the same reason you wouldn't want Mary to stay in here with me around."
To be honest, Cliff didn't know what he expected to happen. So when Gray looked at him for a few seconds and then nodded with no hint of disgust, he was extremely relieved. Four down…the rest of the town to go.
"I see… I guess that's a good reason then. I'll be able to invite Mary up here once Kai leaves… It works out for both of us…" A small smile appeared on his face, no doubt from thoughts of Mary. It was soon replaced by a more leering expression though. "Just, you know, don't be too loud when you're screwing each other, okay?"
"Gray!" Cliff's face was immediately redder than the ruby in the brooch Gray grabbed off his stand, finally remembering his original purpose for being there.
"Yeah yeah, be as embarrassed as you want, but I leave for work earlier than you do, so you better not keep me up." Seeing the brunet's face go a shade of red deeper, he decided to be nice and drop it. "Anyway… It was good being roommates with you, but I can see why you'd want to stay with your boyfriend instead of just a plain old friend. …Sorry, what was his name again?"
Cliff paused for a moment before smiling.
"Skye. His name is Skye. And it was great being roommates with you too." He stuck out his hand, relieved when Gray shook it as if nothing had changed. Maybe coming out wasn't going to be so bad after all.
"Come on dad, he's Cliff's friend and he really needs a job. Cooking is his specialty, and no offense, but you aren't getting any younger. If I'm gonna take over this place one day, I'll need a good helper, and who knows if I'll find a husband that can help me. So please, let Skye have a job!"
Ann knew that as soon as her father had seemed skeptical she needed to put her all into it. Cliff had told her, while his boyfriend was completely out of it and half asleep on his feet, that Skye—now going by his real name—was not only moving in, but also giving up thievery. He needed a job and a place to cook though, and Ann knew just as much as Cliff did that this was perfect. Skye would be close, Ann would have help, and Cliff wouldn't have to worry about him. Now if only her dad would go with it…
"You handle the cooking just fine though, and I do the bar…"
"Trust me dad, having someone else, who's living here with Cliff no less, will make things a lot easier. Plus, if he helps with the cooking I'll…" She paused and raced for something that would seal the deal for her father. "I'll have more time to find a husband!"
Before Cliff, Doug had always told his daughter that she should act and dress more feminine to attract a husband, but she'd never wanted to change herself for a man. She still had no intention of doing that, but she knew he still wanted her to find a husband, especially after she'd told him very bluntly that he needed to stop trying to hook her and Cliff up because neither of them were interested. Well, more that he wasn't and he was taken, but Doug didn't need to know that yet…
"…Okay, he can split your duties…maybe I can show you both how to run the bar too…" She grinned widely and hugged Doug. Just as planned!
"Thank you so much dad! Oh, I'll go tell him right now!" Then she sped off, leaving Doug to wonder where she got all her energy from…
Skye didn't remember falling asleep, but then again he didn't remember getting to his new room either, yet when he awoke that was where he assumed he must be. After rubbing the sleep from his eyes and yawning a few times, he was able to focus enough to take a good look around. It was a cozy little room, with a large bed, a dresser, a stand, and a table with two chairs. He smiled as it finally hit him.
This was his new home.
He couldn't even remember the last time he really felt like he was in a place he could call home. That rundown shack definitely wasn't it, nor was the apartment he'd lived in after he'd moved out from his family's manor. Even there as a child he'd never really been comfortable. But here, even having only been to Mineral Town a few times, he knew this was the right place. He could just feel it.
'But will my reputation proceed me…?' The thought had been with him since the day he realized people from Mineral Town went to Forget-Me-Not Valley. He'd never met any of them aside from Cliff, and at least a few of his boyfriend's friends knew too, so there was hope at least. He wasn't naïve enough to think everyone in the valley would be okay with him being there—whether because they realized he was a thief or when they inevitably found out he was dating Cliff—but he'd put up with worse things, he was sure.
"Hey, you up in there?" A voice he recognized as belonging to the redheaded girl who lived there came through from the hall. Well, this was his chance to make a good impression… Cliff had mentioned this was one of his two best friends, and he'd potentially be working her after all.
"Yes, of course. Please, do come in Ann." Soon a cheerful young woman popped into the room, grinning broadly at him.
"Good morning Skye! Cliff's at work right now, but you probably guessed that since he's not here… Everyday but Saturday he leaves at ten and gets out at four, though he said he'd try to get out early today." Her eyes practically sparkled as she spoke, and she bounced on her heels excitedly. "But anyway, I have great news! Dad said he'll hire you! We didn't really work out the details yet, but I'm sure he'll give you Saturday off so you and Cliff can have that time together, and we aren't open on Holidays either. Cliff said you don't do mornings, and that's okay, cause I don't start working till ten thirty anyway. Oh! It's gonna be great to have someone to help! We'll have a great time!"
She waved her hands around animatedly as she spoke, going on about what they'd do and random bits of information about the inn as they popped into her mind. She was an interesting girl, that was certain. And it seemed she truly was on their side…
Maybe not all of Mineral Town would be so welcome, but it was nice to see someone accepted him at least.
For a few hours Cliff worked diligently, not stopping for even a moment. If he worked hard enough, he figured, Duke wouldn't mind letting him off a few hours early. He knew he was pushing it—he'd just had a few days off not long ago after all—but he didn't like the thought of leaving Skye there by himself before he knew if his boyfriend was doing alright. What if he was wrong and Doug was completely against Skye even being there? What if he'd already been found out? What if—
"Cliff dear, at this rate you'll have the whole orchard pruned within the hour! Whatever is your big hurry? Does this have to do with a certain someone? Oh, you aren't still fighting are you? I know you've been moping the past few days, but you seemed to be in such good spirits when you got here I figured you must have made up while you were gone yesterday, and…Cliff, are you listening?"
The brunet sighed and turned to Manna. Goddess knew he loved her like family, but sometimes she was just too much…
"We…we did make up. That's not the problem. You see… He agreed to move in with me, so he's at the inn and hopefully Ann was able to convince Doug to get him a job. I'm just worried is all."
Something amazing happened then. Manna didn't launch into a rambling speech or ask for every little detail, but instead merely hugged him and whispered that everything would be alright. Then she pulled away and, smiling brightly, told him to head home in another hour.
He took back what he thought before. Manna was fine just the way she was.
When Cliff arrived back at the inn, he was greeted by the sight of Ann teaching Skye how the cash register worked. Relief coursed over him; Skye had the job. Perfect.
The two looked up as Cliff shut the door behind himself and waved. He couldn't keep the grin off his face as he waved back and walked over to the bar. To think that it hadn't been long at all that he didn't even know who Skye was, and now the man was his boyfriend. Who was living with him. Even as little as a two seasons ago he never thought that he'd ever be loved, but now…
He felt his heart swell as Skye's bright green eyes met his, seeing him, only him, flaws and all, yet still filled with love. His life was truly more perfect then it ever had been.